The Council of National Golf Unions (CONGU) has announced that its revised handicapping system has been updated and the new changes will come in on January 1, 2016.

The changes include:

Club handicaps: A new ‘Club Handicap’ of up to 54 will be introduced for adults as well as juniors. Handicaps higher than 28/36 will only be valid at the player’s home club for use in club-run events and cannot be used in opens and so on.

Nine holes: It will be possible to put in supplementary scores over nine holes for handicaps. Nine-hole scores will also be taken into account for an ‘Exceptional Scoring Reduction’.

Reinstatement of handicap status: The reinstatement of a competition status handicap requires a player to submit three qualifying scores, which could be 18-hole competitions, nine-hole competitions or supplementary scores both at home and/or away.

‘Four Ball Better Ball’ handicap allowance: In both stroke play and match play the back marker will concede strokes to the other three players based on 90 percent of the difference between the full handicaps rather than 75 percent (3/4) as at present.

Continuous handicap review: The introduction of a process to flag players with seven consecutive 0.1 handicap increases so that Handicap Committees can review and apply an immediate handicap increase if required.

Dates: The handicap year will now follow the calendar year of January 1 to December 31, and a player’s handicap will be based on scores returned within that period.

Jim McArthur, CONGU board chairman, said: “The CONGU Unified Handicapping System does not stand still and, as a result, we again have a number of further refinements to the system reflecting both experience and new evidence.

We continually review the system to encourage participation in both competitive golf and social golf whilst at the same time trying to ensure that the system is fair for players of all abilities.”

England Golf will host a series of Handicap Roadshows in January and February to help clubs understand and implement the changes by the deadline of March 1 2016. The two-hour sessions will be led by Gemma Hunter, England Golf’s handicap and course rating manager, and are free to attend for up to three delegates.